Sue Townsen, partner and chief diversity officer at KPMG, spoke about the importance of diversity, inclusion and a global mindset at the Global Diversity Fireside Chat on Feb. 21, 2018, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
KPMG has a particular focus on increasing gender diversity in its workforce, which is 21 percent female. Townsen related her own career growth through the company, and urged women to be assertive in pursuing growth opportunities. “Raise your hand and ask for what you want. If a door opens, run through it. If you want to learn a skill, ask for it,” advised Townsen. “Take rotational opportunities, both domestic and international.”
KPMG has developed a reputation for its forward-thinking diversity practices. Townsen said that if a company is going to be successful in creating an inclusive culture, it needs to engage its non-diverse professionals. “We need senior men to be involved, educated and engaged,” said Townsen. “It is good for our inclusion efforts. But it also drives a deep connection to the organization.”
Global diversity is particularly important for KPMG because even those who never leave the U.S. will be working with global clients. “I love the Smith School’s emphasis on having a global mindset. Leveraging diversity, being humble, having a learning mindset and being inquisitive – those are all of the qualities we look for in leaders at KPMG,” she said.
The bottom line is that diversity is good for a company’s bottom line. “The more diverse the team is, the more challenging it is to work together, because they bring so many different experiences and ideas to the table,” said Townsen. “But that is how you get to the most innovation and the best solutions.”
The Global Diversity Fireside chat was sponsored by the Smith School’s Center for Global Business, the Office of Career Services, and the Office of Diversity Initiatives. This event was funded in part by CIBER, a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Rebecca Winner, Office of Marketing Communications